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Spielmann und Zither

Language: German (Deutsch)

Der Spielmann saß am Felsen
   Und blickte hinunter in's Meer
Und sah die Wogen sich wälzen
   Und fluthen um sich her.

Die Zither lag zur Seite,
   Die Luft war rein und mild;
Und wie aus ferner Weite
   Kam ihm manch' liebes Bild.

Kam auch der Schlummer treulich,
   Spielt’ um das Silberhaar
Und schloß so still und heilig
   Das müde Augenpaar.

Und mit dem Kreis der Träume
   Kam Jugendlust herauf;
Und viel zerknickte Keime
   Blühten lebendig auf.

Und alte schöne Stunden
   Wurden ihm wieder neu,
Als hätt' er Liebchen gefunden
   Und Liebchen [wär’]1 ihm treu.

Da faßt' ein plötzlich Grausen
   Ihn wie mit Sturmesweh'n,
Und Wogen hört er brausen,
   Sah Liebchen untergeh'n.--

Und jetzt aus seinen Traümen
   Der Spielmann schnell erwacht,
Und sieht die Wogen schäumen
   Und sieht der Wellen Nacht.

Und hört die Winde pfeifen
   Und stürmen um sich her,
[Thät]2 nach der Zither greifen,
   Fand keine Zither mehr.

Die Zither schwimmt in den Wellen,
   Der Sturm riß sie hinab,
Und seine Thränen quellen
   Bei seiner Liebsten Grab.

Da wird's ihm, als ob sie riefe,
   Als klängen die Saiten an;
Und er stürzt sich hinab in die Tiefe
   Und bricht durch die Wellen sich Bahn.

Und von Weitem sieht er sie blinken
   Und kämpft sich zu ihr her,
Und hält sie empor, dann versinken
   So Zither wie Spielmann in's Meer.

Translation(s): ENG FRE

List of language codes

View original text (without footnotes)
Confirmed with Theodors Körner’s sämmtliche Werke, ed. Karl Streckfuß, Berlin: Verlag der Nicolai’schen Buchhandlung, 1858, pages 170-171.

1 Strauss: “war”
2 Strauss: “Tat”

Submitted by Alberto Pedrotti and Sharon Krebs [Guest Editor]


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Available translations, adaptations, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • ENG English (Sharon Krebs) , title 1: "Musician and zither", copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , title 1: "Le musicien et la cithare", copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Text added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.

Last modified: 2014-09-04 11:50:36
Line count: 44
Word count: 220

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Musician and zither

Language: English after the German (Deutsch)

The musician sat upon the cliff
   And gazed down into the sea
And saw the waves rolling
   And surging about him.

His zither lay off to the side,
   The air was pure and mild;
And as if from a great distance
   Many a dear image appeared to him.

Slumber, too, came faithfully,
   And played about his silver hair
And, in such a silent and holy manner,
   Closed his tired eyes.

And with the circle of dreams
   The joy of youth surged up;
And many broken plantlets
   Bloomed again with life.

And old beautiful hours
   Became new for him again,
As if he had found his beloved
   And his beloved [were]1 faithful to him.

Then a sudden dread seizes
   Him as with the blowing of a storm,
And he hears the waves roaring,
   Saw his beloved sinking.--

And now from his dreams
   The musician quickly awakes,
And sees the foaming of the billows
   And sees the night of the waves.

And hears the winds whistling
   And storming about him.
He reached for his zither,
   But found no zither any longer.

The zither floats in the waves,
   The storm pulled it down,
And his tears well forth
   By the grave of his beloved.

Then it seemed to him as if it were calling,
   As if the strings were sounding;
And he plunges down into the deep
   And makes his way through the waves.

And from afar he sees it gleaming
   And he battles his way toward it,
And he holds it up, then both
   The zither and the musician sink into the sea.

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View original text (without footnotes)
1 Strauss: “was”


  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2014 by Sharon Krebs, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you may ask the copyright-holder(s) directly or ask us; we are authorized to grant permission on their behalf. Please provide the translator's name when contacting us.


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Based on


Text added to the website: 2014-09-04.
Last modified: 2014-09-04 11:51:29
Line count: 44
Word count: 261